a noun suffix having restricted application in various fields, as in names of diseases (malaria; anemia), place names (Italia; Romania), names of Roman feasts (Lupercalia), Latin or Latinizing plurals (Amphibia; insignia; Reptilia), and in other loanwords from Latin (militia).
< Neo-Latin,Latin,Greek, equivalent to -i- (formative or connective) or -ī- (Greek-ei-) + -a, feminine singular or neuter plural noun or adj. ending
suffix forming names of countries, diseases, flowers, from L. and Gk. -ia, which forms abstract nouns of fem. gender. In paraphernalia, Mammalia, etc. it represents the L. and Gk. plural suffix of nouns in -ium or -ion.